Illinois Ambulatory Surgery Center AssociationIASCA

News & Announcements

Public Health Officials Allocating Free COVID-19 Test Kits to Eligible Facilities

posted: May 21, 2021

The Illinois Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are collaborating to provide information and technical support to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) that wish to receive a free allocation of point-of-care antigen testing kits.

As you know, the recently updated IDPH Guidance on Non-Emergent Pre-Procedure COVID-19 Testing continues to recommend that all non-vaccinated patients be tested within 72 hours of a scheduled procedure. A major change from the previous guidelines is in the type of COVID-19 test that may be used for patients undergoing low-to-moderate risk procedures. Based on clinical judgement, those patients may be tested using an FDA-authorized rapid point-of-care (POC) antigen test, provided your ASC obtains a CLIA Certificate of Waiver (CMS, IDPH) and reports test results to IDPH. Patients undergoing high-risk procedures (e.g., requiring general anesthesia, other aerosolizing procedures) must still be tested using a nucleic acid amplification/PCR test due to its higher sensitivity.

The FDA has issued emergency use authorization to several POC antigen tests and, in the interest of public health, the Federal and State governments are in the process of distributing one such test free of charge: Abbott BinaxNOW. The BinaxNOW COVID-19 is a Point-of-Care test, with the results available in 15 minutes. IDPH is offering each ASC an initial allocation of 640 BinaxNOW tests, provided patients are not charged for the test and that certain other requirements are met. Additional free kits may be furnished upon request, subject to availability.

Abbott Kit Distribution and Reporting

The following requirements must be met to be eligible for administering the BinaxNOW test:

  1. The ASC CLIA waiver must be updated to include COVID-19 antigen testing. This does not require any additional paperwork. Please email and request that antigen testing be added to the existing CLIA waiver.
  2. Provider’s orders are still necessary for these tests. Standing orders from Medical Directors or other authorized providers will satisfy this requirement.
  3. Reporting of Results - positive and negative test results must be reported in IDPH’s Redcap program or through ELR within 24 hours of testing. If you have not yet registered for reporting, please email and someone will assist you further.

How do I learn more about the BinaxNOW kits?

To learn more about the Abbott BinaxNOW test kits, and how organizations are using the kits, please contact the IDPH Antigen Testing Team at Someone will gladly assist you with any questions you may have.

How do I request a BinaxNOW shipment?

All BinaxNOW requests are fulfilled on a weekly basis. To request a shipment, please complete the ASC request form.

This opportunity is being made available to all Illinois ASCs in the interest of public health. If your facility is not a current member of IASCA, we encourage you to join us as we advance the interests of the entire ASC community.